All-New York World Series Divides Families
All-New York World Series Divides Families, Coworkers
By Tracy L. Ziemer
N E W Y O R K, Oct. 26
The Subway Series is testing the tolerance level of several
New York families, couples and coworkers who find themselves
divided in their allegiance to their favorite baseball teams
but united under one roof.
I envisioned all of us watching it [the World Series] together,
says New York Yankees fan Christopher Moore of a World Series
gathering with his family including his brother-in-law, a
New York Mets fan. But I now realize those were hallucinations
& I go to my room usually during the game to watch it
As soon as the World Series between the Yankees and the Mets
was set last week, many saw the potential for major schisms.
It s gonna split a few families up, I think, Yankees manager
Joe Torre said.
It s going to be a city divided against itself, New York
City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani predicted. Like a civil war. Father
against son. Brother against brother. Brother against sister.
Even the fans agreed. I think our heads might explode, said
Ellen Raimondo, a Bronx Bombers devotee who is engaged to
Bob Shupp, a lifelong Mets fan. I don t know what we ll do,
but there could be some fights.
Since then, some families have adopted a bunker mentality:
It s us against them, let s stick together. Still others have
made an extra effort to please loved ones for the sake of
maintaining the peace, including cheering against their lifelong
Whatever the strategy, relations here are a bit unpredictable.
Survival of the Fittest
Relationship survival strategies by families from Queens,
New York, to New Jersey have included watching the games in
separate rooms in the same house, and at bars with other like-minded
fans to avoid direct taunting from loved ones.
Moore s brother-in-law, Mike Fallon, says it s probably a
good thing he hasn t watched games with Moore and his Yankee-cheering
in-laws. Fallon tends to yell at the television and says he
would never be able to watch a potential series-clinching
game in the same room with a Yankees fan.
It would be just too hard, Fallon admits. I just couldn
t do it.
I m marrying into a Yankees family, says Shupp, who has
intentionally watched the Subway Series at bars with Raimondo
so he can be among other Mets fans. Over the past few years,
I ve been watching the Yankee playoff games with my future
in-laws, but now I m worried because they might see a side
of me they don t know yet.
Working eight hours a day with people who root for the cross-town
team can also put a strain on office esprit de corps.
Work has been pretty bad especially since the incident the
other night with Roger Clemens and Mike Piazza, says Fallon,
referring to the now-infamous bat-throwing incident for which
Clemens was fined a reported $50,000. It s been confrontational.
We argue constantly, specifically my boss and I, because we
have differing views about what happened.
Even local politicians can t resist staking their turf in
this baseball civil war. Yankee fan Mayor Rudolph Giuliani
traded barbs with City Council Speaker Peter Vallone, a die-hard
Mets fan, about the Clemens-Piazza incident. And New York
Senate candidate Rick Lazio, a Mets fan, has criticized his
opposing candidate s support for the Yankees Hillary Clinton
is originally from Illinois.
Unifying Effects, Too
Although the dividing lines have been drawn for many, some
families have managed to find some middle ground.
One New York couple has a shrine to their two favorite teams
on their living room fireplace mantle: her Yankees foam finger
is propped up next to her husband s Mets foam finger a statement
of unity and difference in taste.
Adam Hyman, a fifth-grade school teacher in Forest Hills
who also records and edits videotape of games for the Mets,
says his father, a 100 percent, die-hard Yankees fan, has
agreed to root against his favorite team as a gesture to his
He said to me, This will be the first time I ll root for
the Mets to win. I want to see them win for you, Hyman says.
He knows I know the Mets on a personal level through his work
at Shea Stadium.
The Queens native says this is quite a switch for his Bronx-born
father, who grew up watching the legendary New York Subway
Series of the 1940s and 50s.
How do you root for the Yankees for 58 years and then all
of a sudden go against them? Hyman says. He s showing support
for me, but I know it has to be a strange experience for him.
Like Hyman, many New Yorkers say this rivalry is friendly
and good for the city.
It seems people are really having fun and the whole thing
is bringing people together, says Moore of the unifying effects
of the Subway Series. It s become a celebration of New York
City. And knowing that the rest of the country is bored out
of its mind somehow only makes it more fun for us, in a weird,
New York kind of way.
ABC Radio contributed to this report.
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